Saturday, December 22, 2018

Chicken Provencale

I've been away from my blog for awhile as it's been a very frenetic December for Becky and I. First, Becky's mom (the second best cook in Bloomington) had to have heart surgery to repair a leaking valve. Then my dad fell down the stairs at his house and broke his hip. Ironically both surgeries took place on December 6, albeit at different hospitals. And with even more irony, they ended up in the same place for rehab....right across the hall from each other.

This Steven Stolman recipe was going to be the subject of my December 8th blog, but life got in the way. This is an incredibly easy recipe to prepare. And while indeed very simple to prepare, the complex flavors in this dish will astound you! I liked it so much that I have cooked it twice this month. And I strongly encourage you to serve this meal with a nice, crusty baguette. Every drop of juice in the bottom of the pan must end up in your mouth.

While the recipe calls for a whole chicken cut into parts, it's very easy to scale it. The first time I cooked it, I just used two, bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. So use a whole chicken or just your family's favorite parts.

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 parts
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons herbs de Provence
1/2 lemon, cut into slices
10 garlic cloves, peeled
6 shallots, peeled and halved
1/3 cup dry vermouth
4 sprigs of thyme, for garnish

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Put the flour in a shallow pan and lightly dredge the chicken in it, shaking the pieces to remove excess flour.
  2. Swirl the oil in a large roasting pan, and place the floured chicken in it. Season the chicken with the herbes de Provence. Arrange the lemon, garlic cloves and shallots around the chicken, then add the vermouth to the pan.
  3. Put the pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, then baste it with the pan juices. Continue roasting for another 30 minutes. Then serve in the pan garnished with thyme.

Wine pairing: Merlot

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, December 1, 2018

A Celebration of Garlic

Rocket Arugula with Garlic Rice

I am a lover of all-things garlic. I've never seen a food that can't be enhanced by the addition of a little garlic....okay, ice cream maybe not. I always have Christopher Ranch fresh garlic in my refrigerator. And my pantry is resplendent with garlic related items: garlic oil; garlic olive oil; garlic salt, granulated garlic and so on.

The most frequently used and most dearly treasured item in my pantry is Colavita Roasted Garlic Oil. I regularly use it on every recipe that calls for extra virgin olive oil. This oil kicks butt. It is so delicious I find myself putting a few drops in my palm and licking it off. I buy it on Amazon and it's a bargain! A pair of quart bottles goes for just $9.99.

To create this celebration of garlic, I am going to revisit an Italian dish created by chef Elisa Gambino...Straccetti Con Rughetta. I prefer to call it by it's American name...Rocket Arugula.  I first wrote about it in October of 2010. It's an amazing blend of beef tenderloin, arugula, rosemary, sage, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and, yes, garlic. After you taste it, you will know why I am revisiting this recipe.

The side I use to complement Rocket Arugula is Garlic Rice. I came up with the recipe after fiddling around in the kitchen. It's a fabulous mixture of sushi rice, garlic olive oil, garlic salt, fresh minced garlic and butter. After you have consumed the Rocket Arugula and Garlic Rice, there will be no question in your mind why I call this "A Celebration of Garlic".


1-1/2 pounds beef tenderloin
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup roasted garlic olive oil plus 3 tablespoons
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
10 ounces baby arugula
Juice of 1 lemon

  1. Put beef tenderloin in your freezer for 30 minutes. Then remove and slice the tenderloin thin as possible. Put sliced beef in a bowl.
  2. Add garlic, sage, rosemary, salt and pepper to bowl. Then add 1/4 cup roasted garlic olive oil. Toss to mix thoroughly. Let mixture rest on counter for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat on your stovetop.
  4. Once the pan is hot, add the 3 tablespoons of roasted garlic olive oil and the tenderloin and cook just until the pink is gone (do not brown meat).
  5. Turn down heat to low and add the arugula. Put the lid on the pan and let it wilt for one minute.
  6. Take the lid off and stir until all of the arugula is wilted.
  7.  Squeeze the lemon over the dish and stir. Taste and add salt as necessary. Serve.


2 tablespoons roasted garlic olive oil
2 cups of sushi rice
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon garlic salt
3 tablespoons butter
2-1/2 cups of water


  1. In a medium sauce pan (with a lid), add the garlic olive oil, rice, garlic, garlic salt and butter.
  2. Then add 2-1/2 cups of water.
  3. Turn stovetop burner to high. Bring pan to a boil.
  4. When pan boils, reduce heat to low (simmer), cover and let it cook for 15 minutes.
  5. After the 15 minutes is up, turn heat off but let plan sit on warm burner for another 15 minutes.
  6. Uncover pan and stir to fluff rice. Serve.

Wine pairing: Chianti Classico

Grogs and Goldie, 1956